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Street in Japan: 11 arrests in two weeks

By Matt Georges / Triple

Hokkaido, Northern island of Japan, is mostly known for having the lightest and deepest powder in the world but not so much for its street treasures.

Few years ago on a camping trip I have ended up by accident in Otaru, down coast, and really loved it. It’s very hilly fisherman city with an incredible view on the Japan sea. It’s full of tourists during the week ends and in the holiday seasons but very quiet and lovely the rest of the time. For once it’s a big change to ride the street with such a view, unfortunately the police there don’t really like the fact that stupid snowboarders move snow. We got arrested and kicked out 11 times in 2 weeks! Full passport control all the time, surrounded by 10 cops sometimes. It was a bit hectic but always in a very polite and calm situation. The only issue for us was just to change police districts to not end up with the same officers day after day. It was not the easiest trip but hopefully we ended up every night at Shin’s ramen to get our battery reload and start again the day after.
At the end the boys nailed it and we all came back home with nice souvenirs!

Danimals got hurt couple days earlier and was off for some time. We found this Baseball field in an abandoned school with natural inrun. That was just the perfect set up for our last day shooting before jumping in the plane.
He rode that spot 3 different ways. First he wallied up to wallride Five 0 to tranny finder, as you can see on the photo, then he jumped on top and jumped back in one of those transition and then he 5050 the top ledge on a long distance to get back in one of those transition.

 

We came back to this sport building 3 times to hit a rail. The security was just becoming crazier every time he would see us again. That was the landing spot of Benny and Dom here and Benny didn’t like the rail so he built up this little transfer just for fun and I was just shooting him in between. That’s also those moments in snowboarding that you don’t really see in the movies: all the waiting moments from other riders an how they keep themself busy. Some goes on their phone, some shoots second video angle while some others build a mini shred spot for fun.

 

The whole scenery was kind of unlikely here. The inrun was on a private garden just in front of a busy railway so the train driver could almost touch him from the window. The rail itself was rusty, very shaky and very tight so your tail was ripping of the wall sometimes. And last but not least the landing was on a cleaned and busy sidewalk. Maybe you are not aware but Japanese people hates, or very hates, when we put snow on a cleaned sidewalk. They don’t care at all if you snowboard in the street but they don’t like when you are moving snow. Anyway there was this old lady at the window yelling at Danimals while we had to put snow back on the landing all the time, make sure the traffic was stopped and no walkers were about to get hit by Dan. A bit of an hectic shit show at the end!

“Security was getting heavier and heavier every time he saw us there again.”

That kind of day where you just drive around for hours looking for spots, get kicked by the police, fight with the rain and just end up in an abandoned neighborhood to make sure a little bit of snowboarding will happen. At the end we spent couple hours on this fun roof with an amazing sea view. It’s nice sometimes to see some behind the scene and not always the craziest tricks or spots. Just the normal office day life of a snowboarder.

 

It’s hard to see on the photo but the rail had some sketchy screws all the way. Catching an edge was not really an option and the kink was very gnarly. Dan and Benny rode it together, on both side, with different tricks. Again we had a sick view on the whole Japan sea. Riding the street of Otaru is so welcoming compared to other cities where it’s just ghetto, dirty and grey.

 

We came back to that spot four times in total before Benny was able to get his trick correctly. At the end we didn’t use it in the video because he came off the rail maybe 10cm earlier. I usually never use a photo of a not landed trick but he did. He just could have done it a bit better but that was just too much effort after all the struggle we got there. We got kicked out 3 times in a row, then they stetted up ropes all around the rail, full of « forbidden » signs. Benny was so keen to land this lipslide that we cut of everything and shot it again

Same story with this spot, we got kicked out 3 times in a row. The inrun was a very steep bamboo field leading to a gap to a tiny roof to then jump on the wall and land in the middle of a school court and students could see us from their classroom window. Not really the ideal set up since we had to hide couple times to not be seen.

Same story again for this spot. We got kicked out 3 times, that was just our daily routine in Otaru. Not for snowboarding thought but just for being around and moving snow from point A to point B. They just don’t get it why we do this.
The inrun was very tricky so Dan and Dom had to pull him off with a showel so Benny could get extra speed.We had to be fast again because we didn’t want to get caught by the same police officers again. They are always nice with us but I guess to a certain point. We definitely didn’t want to have the immigration service involved and get kicked out of the country just because we moved snow.

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